Earlier this year, 53-year-old hospital worker Mavis Wanczyk phoned her boss and told him she wouldn’t be back at work. Ever. She’d just won the biggest, undivided lottery jackpot in US history. The problem is that Mavis has a 70 per cent chance of losing it all within a few years.
Retirement can be one of the most difficult of life’s transitions because it’s a step back (or down) compared to other transitions. The change from school to work, from single to married, even job changes can mean more responsibilities. In contrast, retirement is a letting go. The transition may be difficult, but there are ways to minimise the issues.
Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott don’t call it crazy, but compared to what we have now the retirement they see coming seems at least strange. Gratton and Scott are both professors at the London Business School and, in their book The 100-Year Life, they suggest that we need to prepare for exactly that—a 100-year-long life.
When more than 1000 couples were asked how much they need to save to maintain their current lifestyle in retirement almost half had ‘no idea’. And, significantly, most couples weren’t on the same page about the amount needed. As a couple preparing for retirement, these are the kinds of things that need to be talked about. For your retirement’s sake and for your relationship’s sake.
‘People who work very hard need to start building up other interests to make their retirement work.’ That’s the advice from Professor Gordian Fulde.
I’ve seen people who have retired without having a plan, and mostly, it isn’t a pretty sight. When I asked a clinical psychologist friend what she thought could be the major problem for those who retired without planning, ‘Anxiety and depression’, was her immediate answer.
We’re in the middle of an extraordinary transition that few of us are prepared for. That’s what Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott reckon in their book, The 100-Year Life. We’re living longer and ‘whoever you are, wherever you live and however old you are, you need to start thinking now about the decisions you will make in order to make the most of this longer life.’
Looking in the rear-view mirror can help you plan your retirement. That’s looking back at what you’ve done in the past to help plan your future. What I’m suggesting here isn’t about looking back at the negatives, though. It’s mostly about positive life experiences to help plan your retirement.
As you plan your retirement, it could be helpful to think about what you would consider to be a successful retirement. For you. What are your dreams and desires for the likelihood of 20-and-more years of retirement?
Retirees have a higher sense of wellbeing compared to the general population. That’s the finding of the latest Australian Unity Wellbeing Index survey checking on Australian’s satisfaction with their lives.